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Austrian Animal Right Activists Are Innocent Thats for Sure

Animals  (tags: )

- 3699 days ago -
The green party in Austria on the animal activists and a minister who does not want to talk! Mr Pilz the leader of the green party thinks that the police has no evidence that will justify this kind of treatment !

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Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 4, 2008, 2:31 pm
Austria is regarded world wide as one of, if not the most impressive country in terms of animal welfare.These successes are entirely down to researching the conditions that animals are kept in, giving the public access to this information and political lobbying. Harald Balluch distances himself and the VGT from any illegal activities.” This police action is designed to discredit the work being done for animals. The intention is to damage the reputation of animal campaigners and campaign work. Through the police raids, our office along with four others, has been brought to a stand still. Our computers with our complete data bank have been taken along with all our mobile phones and years of research material. We have no possibility of contacting our supporters. Our phone and fax lines were also out of order for sometime after the raid making contact with media impossible.” Die Grünen will do evertyhing they can to free these people and make sure that the people who are responsable for this will face charges! I think the best way to make sure that Austria knows that they are in the spotlight is by writing:
• Minister for Justice; Frau Dr Berger
• Federal President; Dr Heinz Fischer
• Federal Chancellor; Dr Alfred Gusenbauer
Sample letter:

Animal Activists Arrrests - Protest against Human Rights Abuse

On 21 May there were several raids against animal rights and animal welfare activists and groups. Furthermore, 10 activists were arrested and are now accused of being part of a criminal organization.
In my opinion, it is more than absurd that armed special forces of the Austrian police carried out such a big strike against a social movement. This act of arbitrary violence is evidence of failure of the democratic society.

I`m writing to you to express that I am totally opposed to the raids and arrests of the animal rights activists. I demand their immediate release from prison. I find this number of raids and arrests to be an attempt to criminalize legitimate activism and I condemn this repression in every way.

I reject the construct of §287a concerning the suspected formation of a criminal organisation and I condemn the attempt to weaken the Austrian animal rights movement with such acts of violence. The liberation of animals from their state of socially institutionalized exploitation and oppression is neither „criminal“ nor to be rejected in any other way; on the contrary, it is a necessary condition for a free society. Animal right activists only wish to save the animal victims from further violence and oppression. I don`t understand why the Austrian state fights against those human beings instead of working for the abolition of animal exploitation.

Therefore, I strongly request an immediate action towards releasing the imprisoned Austrian animal rights activists. Please do not allow any more violations of human rights in the middle of democratic Europe.

Yours sincerely,

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 4, 2008, 2:41 pm
Please dont forget to inform the Green Party! Mrs. Mag.a Brigid Weinzinger Mr. Univ. Prof. Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen Mr. Dr. Peter Pilz

Trudi Reijnders (242)
Wednesday June 4, 2008, 3:44 pm
Embassy Listings For Austria :

Thank you Hans, and Johann for the addresses.

Hans L (958)
Thursday June 5, 2008, 2:28 am
The Austrian Green Party is like our party for the animals!
The three people that Johann has listed are the most important for this case they will speak up for the animals! Trudi we now have a interesting reaction from the WTF excuse me WWF you will like it...they confirm everything! or they dont talk about great to hear that they are true and realy about saving the hunting grounds for the founding members!
Lets all send messages to Austria until the press awakes! I am sure that as soon as Dr Pilz receives messages he will invite the press to show them the picture of Austria because of this rediculous police action against animal friends. He is right this will have serious consequences for the poeple involved we cannot allow the food industry to buy governments like they obviously can also buy governments by creating jobs...ever thought about that...the bad animal activists are destroying the jobs that they create! Well if it takes animal cruelty to create factory farming jobs than
lets concentrate on new kind of jobs..ECO farming is great in Austria!
Also the Urlaub am bauernhof! you dont want to make farmholidays on an industrial animal farm....
Thats what so sad about this Holland and Austria are the two world leaders
on animal rights...Brilliant ID lets also right to the Austrian tourist board and the farmholidays about this rediculous action against animal friends! They are no terrorists just activists! And have done nothing illegal!

Past Member (0)
Thursday June 5, 2008, 5:00 am
Austria is spending very much money on a positive image! Thats why they are hosting the EM 2008 together with Switzerland i can hardly believe that they would be happy to receive many messages from people telling them how disapointed they are about this action coming from one of the most animal friendly countries in the world! This is rediculous!

Lee D (22)
Thursday June 5, 2008, 9:06 am
Noted and written to all three e-mail addresses Johann posted. So eine Schande!!

Trudi Reijnders (242)
Friday June 6, 2008, 4:05 pm
Statement from Amnesty International
The Human Rights Organisation, Amnesty International stands up for the Ten imprisoned Animal Protectionists

In a two page statement the organisation describes a string of offences against Austrian criminal law.

Amnesty International emphasises, once again, that political and social activism as a freedom of expression is a protected human right.

The statement criticises the use of sec 278a of the criminal code for demonstrators noting “It seems inadequate to postulate a group involved in organised crime from a situation where a number of demonstrators arrange to resist state authority”.

Amnesty International pointed out that well known environmental organisations such as Greenpeace, for example, that might engage in actions such as occupying an atomic power plant could be said to have committed an offence under this law in doing so, and that as a consequence those who donate to their organisation could be charged with financing terrorism under criminal law.

It is also pointed out that the term “organised crime“ is characterised by the intent to enrich oneself and refers to the gravest crimes, for which the intention to maximize profits is characteristic (drug trafficking and smuggling, weapons trafficking and smuggling, theft and trafficking of stolen art work, procuration of prostitutes, trafficking in human beings, illegal gaming and gaming fraud, protection rackets, money laundering and so on).

The appropriateness of the house searches also came under criticism, in particular the reports that those held in custody were refused their right to contact a lawyer of next of kin

Amnesty International is concerned about, and has strongly criticised the claim from Public Prosecutor that no allegations are aimed at organisations, whilst searches of offices rendered many organisations unable to function due to seized technology, equipment and data

Hans L (958)
Saturday June 7, 2008, 1:39 am

How can this happen in Austria? I mean Gusenbauer is not BUSH?

If GREENPEACE is a TERRORISTGROUP than what about the real terrorists
The Greenparty had allready stated that the animal activists had been treated like the russian mafia should be treated.....

THIS! 10 innocent people are in prison since there is no proof
at least if there would be the Greenparty would have received
it we need to back up the greenparty on this one! You cannot trust
this government and legal system!

organisations such as Greenpeace, for example, that might engage in actions such as occupying an atomic power plant could be said to have committed an offence under this law in doing so, and that as a consequence those who donate to their organisation could be charged with financing terrorism under criminal law.

Trudi Reijnders (242)
Sunday June 8, 2008, 1:15 pm
Following a judicial review on the 6th June, all ten remanded Austrian animal protectionists are to remain in custody for another four weeks. The justice scandal worsens.

The unbelievable has happened: all ten remanded animal protectionists are to remain in custody for another four weeks!

In the run-up to today's detention review hearing there was further provocation. The case files substantiating the further detention were not delivered to the defence until the late afternoon of the day before the hearing. The accused were therefore unable to submit statements any more in reply to the new case file contents. The judge went on sick leave shortly before the hearing was to commence. Each person was allocated ten minutes for their hearing, in which short time the substitute judge was to decide the further fates of the detainees.

Harald Balluch, president of the Association against Animal Factories (VGT), said, “I am thoroughly horror-stricken that people can be locked up arbitrarily for weeks in Austria without a specific accusation or proven risk of collusion or flight. These are individuals who have never once in their lives held a weapon in their hands – to brand them as terrorists and state enemy number one is a scandal without compare. Animal protection has been successful and business interests find that inconvenient. This disastrous paragraph 278a gives the authorities a real field day – it lets them just dispose of people who make use of their freedom of opinion and their freedom to demonstrate.”

Many animal protectionists gathered in front of the District Court of Wiener Neustadt, where the review of the remand in custody took place today. Drumming and chanting loudly, they repeated their one demand: “Free the animal protectionists!” The youth section of the Lower Austrian Green Party and their Chairperson Dr. Madeleine Petrovic also took part in the demonstration, showing that they share our concern for the prisoners.

Hans L (958)
Monday June 9, 2008, 2:23 am
This is just unbelievable! How can this happen in a democracy?
And how can there be silence about this? The media dont report on this?????

ascm P (6)
Wednesday June 11, 2008, 2:02 pm
Vienna, 9th June 2008

Weinzinger about the animal protectionists: “Scandalous remand in custody continues further”

Green Party demand the release of the activists

Vienna (OTS) – The human rights speaker of The Austrian Green Party, Brigid Weinzinger, protested against the extension of the remand in custody of three animal protectionists today. “To hold people in custody for two weeks without specific evidence and without charging them is a scandal pure and simple.” Weinzinger demanded the immediate release of the activists. “As has been the case, still nothing has been raised that would be grounds for remanding them in custody. Their fundamental right to fair trial, to having an opportunity to respond to charges, and to being able to defend themselves – all of these rights are being massively violated,” Weinzinger said.

“The massive judicial and police actions against the animal protectionists have been excessive, illegal and arbitrary from the very beginning. It is utterly absurd to construct the case that simply because someone has worked for years for the cause of animal protection or for an animal protection organization there is a significant risk that they will perpetrate a criminal offence, and then use this contention as grounds for continuing to remand them in custody.” Additionally, according to Weinzinger, it is absolutely unjustifiable to apply Paragraph 278a of the Austrian Criminal Code to these cases: this paragraph was adopted to enable the authorities to pursue Mafia-like organizations (smuggling of humans, illegal dealing in weapons, counterfeiting, or drug rings). This statutory definition of the offence is certainly not met.


ascm P (6)
Wednesday June 11, 2008, 2:10 pm
Please sign the

"Online Petition against Arbitrary Police Operations Against Animal Protectionists" :


ascm P (6)
Friday June 13, 2008, 9:17 am

Hi all,

Here's a message from Martin BAlluch to the international AR movement


Monday, 9th June 2008

On Wednesday 21st May, my life was to change drastically. We had prepared a new campaign on a constitutional change for animals, which would have gone for a vote in Parliament at the beginning of July. The campaign was to be launched the very next day. For this campaign we had managed to unify just about the whole movement in Austria to pull on the same string. As many of you, who know me, will have expected, this is one of my primary aims, to unify the movement for double strength.

But the campaign was not to be. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, police launched the most violent attack ever in Austrian history against a social justice movement and against NGOs. Hundreds of armed police officers smashed in the doors of 21 different homes, of 6 different NGO offices and of our warehouse of demo material. 25 people were arrested and questioned by police. 10 people were put on remand since, one of them me.

In order to “catch” me, police not only broke into my home, but also in the home of two of my brothers and my girlfriend’s.

Black clad, masked up officers stormed through the broken down door and run, guns drawn, to our beds. They pointed their guns at my head and pulled me out of my bed naked. My brother was pushed onto the wall and had the gun put into his neck.

One of the 10 people police intended to put on remand was not at home. So they phoned him, and guess what? Trustingly, he went to the police station suspecting nothing evil. Till today, 19 days later, he is still rotting in a cell, not knowing why. Incidentally, he is campaigns director of the well known animal welfare group “Four Paws”, which has offices in 6 different countries.

After police had arrested us, they searched all our homes, including those of my brothers, who are not involved in the animal rights movement. Police mainly took computers, but also brochures, books, videos and mobile phones.

You would be forgiven to think that this massive police operation was the state reaction to a high level of animal rights related criminal activity. But instead, fact is that ALF activity in Austria is on a much much smaller scale than in all other countries with a big animal rights movement.

You would also be forgiven to think that police must have had information that dangerous ALF-attacks were about to happen, or that they would discover firebombs or terrorist material. But again, you could not be more wrong. They had no such information, they did not even look for such material. They were only interested in computers, books and videos, i.e. in stuff that says something about the attitude of those people they had arrested. This is what this case is about: the attitude of people, no specific crimes.

If the police had any evidence against any of the arrestees regarding crimes they supposedly here committed, they would have said so by now. But the arrest order says something else. We all were arrested for “forming a large criminal organisation with a hierarchical structure like a company”. And the crimes this organisation under the name ALF supposedly has committed, is EVERY SINGLE animal rights related crime that ever happened in Austria! This sounds like a joke, but it is not. Every single animal rights related crime ever, every lock glued, every tyre punctured, every window broken and so forth, but also – believe it or not – every run-in, every home demo and every undercover investigation without criminal aspect, to every topic imaginable, from vivisection to fur, factory farming, circus, the lot, is supposed to have been done by our criminal organisation.

You would expect that if police and the State Prosecution suspect you of such heinous crimes, they would come to you after your arrest and question you. But wrong again. Ever since I have been put on remand in a cell, I have never been asked by anyone any question related to this case. My solicitor has demanded to see the police evidence, and so for we have seen some 2500 pages. And in all those pages, some animal rights related crimes of the last 2 years are forensically analysed, even a bite lock that was put on a door was investigated for DNA traces. And no evidence against any of the 10 arrestees was found. Also, police has listened to our phones, had us under surveillance, put cameras pointing at our front doors, have put V-men into our groups and have read all our emails. For 2 years! And still, they have found no evidence. So they started the huge police operation, desperate for something to use to charge us of anything, and be it tax fraud.

My arrest and remand is “justified” as follows. There is some albeit comparatively little, animal rights related criminal activity. Hence, there must be a big, hierarchical organisation run like a company, which is responsible for it. Further, since I have been active in the movement for decades, since I have international contacts and since I am influential in the movement and have run many campaigns, I must be the head of this organisation. Full stop. That is it. That is the evidence. Can you believe it? I can’t, but for all I can see, it seems to be reality.

How is it possible that I am sitting on remand for such a ludicrous “suspicion”? Good question. For 2 weeks I was given no reason why I was arrested. Then I could see the “evidence” and was put before a judge last Friday 6th June. The prosecutor read out the list of all animal rights related crimes and non-criminal actions in the last 11 years, which took a while. Then he said I am suspected to lead a criminal organisation, which is responsible for all of them. Then my solicitor said that there is no evidence. Then I wanted to give a statement, but the judge did not allow me to do so. She just handed me a prepared verdict, which said that I have to remain on remand for another 4 weeks, then she will consider my case again. And that she did with all 10 arrestees, including the campaigns director of Four Paws International.

So, what is behind all this? I think behind all this is the most fundamental attack on animal rights movement ever in the history of our movement worldwide. Let me explain. About 11 years ago, we embarked on a new type of campaigning in Austria. We used the classic grass roots campaign tactic with media work and civil disobedience actions for legal reforms. And we were very successful indeed. First, we banned fur farms, then wild animal circuses, then battery cages and vivisection on apes, and at last rabbit cage farming. Theses successes caused a lot of concern for powerful groups in society. After the hen battery cage ban was achieved in 2004, we started to feel an increasing amount of police repression. The anti-terrorist police department started to watch us and slander us by releasing statements how the suspect us of criminal activity. Also, police restricted our rights to protest ever more. Then the Minister of the Interior publicly called us a violent group. We tried to sue him for it, but he turned out to be immune to law suits as a minister. But he admitted in Parliament when questioned that his accusation was based on wrong assumptions. We publicly called him a liar, but, revealingly he did not react.

Or so we thought. At about the same time a special police squat was formed and started a major surveillance operation on us, i.e. on a number of different animal rights groups, NGOs and individuals. The rest you know already.

Since, after years of intensive surveillance, police could find no evidence of any criminal act, they had to come up with suspicion of an offence that does not need concrete evidence. For that they used a recently introduced law against terrorist groups and the mafia. This law says it is illegal to form a big (i.e. more than 10 people) organisation, which is hierarchical and run similarly to a company, which aims to influence politics or economy, and which was for that aim at least also and at least occasionally, criminal acts. Since we do run campaigns to influence politics and economy, and since there is some sort of animal rights related criminal activity, even if not related to us, on a very low level and of no serious kind but still, the State Prosecution is using the law now – for the first time in history against an NGO. And don’t forget: some of those “crimes” recounted by the State Prosecution include flyposting, run-ins, blockades and undercover investigations inside factory farms. This is a very worrying development. Police is using an anti-terrorist law against legitimate and non-criminal political campaigning. Amnesty International has voiced concern. A Green Party MP has visited me in prison and the Greens have put critical questions to the minister of the interior in Parliament. But he refused to comment. Instead, the state prosecutor released a statement to media that we are suspected of committing arson and “gas attacks”, in order to slander us.

This is a political trial, a full scale attack on legal and legitimate reformist law campaigns, which were successful. Please protest against those criminals, who are behind this attack on us, and who are probably high up in government.

I support this protest as much as I can. Immediately after my arrest, I went on hunger strike. Apart from before my court hearing in order to be able to attend, I have not eaten since. I am on my 19th day today. I have been in prison hospital for the last week, have blurred vision and fell unconscious once already. I have been told that soon they will start force-feeding me.

I need your help. I count on you. Thanks for all the support you have given us already. Please trust that there really is no evidence whatever of criminal activity against me. There is none now, and there never will be any.

DDr. Martin Balluch

Association Against Animal Factories

From prison hospital in Vienna, Austria


Past Member (0)
Friday June 13, 2008, 12:26 pm
Guantanamo in Austria?
Are we all terrorists?

Hans L (958)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 9:00 am
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